Transcendent Philosophy 2, 173-191 © London Academy of Iranian Studies

The Notions of Māhiyyah and Eidos: A Comparison between Sadrā’s Transcendent Philosophy and Husserl’s Phenomenology
Abdul Rahim Afaki

Abstract
Both Mullā Sadrā and Edmund Husserl are the philosophers of transcendence but different from each other with respect to partly their own character and partly their affiliation with two different domains of thought namely Muslim philosophy and Sūfism and Western philosophy respectively. Sadrā’s ikmatal-H al-Muta‘āliyyah (Transcendent Wisdom)1 is characterized as eclecticism in the sense that this is an attempt of reconciliation of and, at the same time, reaction against his predecessors like Aristotle, Ibn-Sīnā, Ibn-‘Arabī, the Illuminationists and the Peripatetics etc. In addition, he also incorporates the Muslim theological elements in his thought. On the contrary, Husserl’s transcendental philosophy, far more well known as phenomenology, is claimed to be ‘a radical way of philosophizing’ which rejects every ‘presupposition’ whatsoever pre-given by past philosophies, religion, culture and tradition.

Two Philosophers, if they are recognized by the same trait, must have some intellectual resemblance though there might be certain differences, whether major or minor, between them. Both of our thinkers reject rational conceptual process as an appropriate way of approaching reality. Instead, both focus on intuitive experience to unveil reality. In their philosophies of transcendence, the notion of essence plays a vital role but its relationship to reality is perceived differently. This will be the focal point of my paper. I would like here to explore the notions of ‘Māhiyyah’ and ‘eidos’ as expounded

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by Sadrā and Husserl respectively. Māhiyyah and eidos are two different versions of the notion of essence that is a very significant milestone through their paths to reality. For Sadrā, the ultimate reality is the Necessary Existence (al-Wujūd al-Wājib) which is absolutely objective and transcendent and so cognizable only through the Gnostic experience (‘Irfān). The Necessary Existent is to impart existence to the individuals to make them ‘accidental existences’ as the sun, being a source of light, is to impart light to other objects in order to illuminate them as they appear to us. Whereas the essence of an existent is not an objectively existing reality rather it is a subjective working out of the nature of particulars by human rationality. So essence always remains, for Sadrā, a secondary reality that is construed by a subjective mind rather than cognized as an objective reality. Furthermore, essence as a secondary reality is unified (muttahid) with existence which is a primordial reality that can never be known by conceptual mind but only the Gnostic experience can unfold it. Unlike Sadrā’s al-Hikmat al-Muta‘āliyyah being grounded upon the difference between essence and existence Husserl’s phenomenology is based on the relationship between essence (eidos) and the thing in itself. For him, eidos is tantamount to the thing-initself so his main focus is to workout an ‘eidetic method’ to reach at eidos; once it is achieved then the thing in itself will never be veiled any more. His eidetic method begins with the ‘bracketing’ of all ideas, concepts and beliefs pre-given by culture and tradition. With this bracketing one absolutely breaks with actuality and is led to the ‘transcendental-subjective consciousness.’ This consciousness as a pure intuition grasps eide (pl. of eidos) of individual beings and so gives rise to the whole life-world as an object constituted by a subject. Drawing from their views on philosophy, this study will explore the meanings of transcendence as manifested in Husserl’s and Sadrā’s thought. Furthermore, it will delineate how their

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concepts of philosophy and transcendence lead towards the notion of essence. Both Mullā Sadrā and Edmund Husserl are the philosophers of transcendence but different from each other with respect to partly their own character and partly their affiliation with two different domains of thought namely Muslim philosophy and Sūfism and Western philosophy respectively. Sadrā’s al-Hikmat alMuta‘āliyyah (Transcendent Wisdom)1 is characterized as eclecticism in the sense that this is an attempt of reconciliation of and, at the same time, reaction against his predecessors like Aristotle, Ibn-Sīnā, Ibn-‘Arabī, the Illuminationists and the Peripatetics etc. In addition, he also incorporates the Muslim theological elements in his thought. On the contrary, Husserl’s transcendental philosophy, far more well known as phenomenology, is claimed to be ‘a radical way of philosophizing’ which rejects every ‘presupposition’ whatsoever pre-given by past philosophies, religion, culture and tradition. Two Philosophers, if they are recognized by the same trait, must have some intellectual resemblance though there might be certain differences, whether major or minor, between them. Both of our thinkers reject rational conceptual process as an appropriate way of approaching reality. Instead, both focus on intuitive experience to unveil reality. In their philosophies of transcendence, the notion of essence plays a vital role but its relationship to reality is perceived differently. This will be the focal point of my paper. I would like here to explore the notions of ‘Māhiyyah’ and ‘eidos’ as expounded by Sadrā and Husserl respectively. Māhiyyah and eidos are two different versions of the notion of essence that is a very significant milestone through their paths to reality. For Sadrā, the ultimate reality is the Necessary Existence (al-Wujūd al-Wājib) which is absolutely objective and transcendent and so cognizable only through the Gnostic experience (‘Irfān). The Necessary Existent is

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to impart existence to the individuals to make them ‘accidental existences’ as the sun, being a source of light, is to impart light to other objects in order to illuminate them as they appear to us. Whereas the essence of an existent is not an objectively existing reality rather it is a subjective working out of the nature of particulars by human rationality. So essence always remains, for Sadrā, a secondary reality that is construed by a subjective mind rather than cognized as an objective reality. Furthermore, essence as a secondary reality is unified (muttahid) with existence which is a primordial reality that can never be known by conceptual mind but only the Gnostic experience can unfold it. Unlike Sadrā’s al-Hikmat al-Muta‘āliyyah being grounded upon the difference between essence and existence Husserl’s phenomenology is based on the relationship between essence (eidos) and the thing in itself. For him, eidos is tantamount to the thing-initself so his main focus is to workout an ‘eidetic method’ to reach at eidos; once it is achieved then the thing in itself will never be veiled any more. His eidetic method begins with the ‘bracketing’ of all ideas, concepts and beliefs pre-given by culture and tradition. With this bracketing one absolutely breaks with actuality and is led to the ‘transcendental-subjective consciousness.’ This consciousness as a pure intuition grasps eide (pl. of eidos) of individual beings and so gives rise to the whole life-world as an object constituted by a subject. Drawing from their views on philosophy, this study will explore the meanings of transcendence as manifested in Husserl’s and Sadrā’s thought. Furthermore, it will delineate how their concepts of philosophy and transcendence lead towards the notion of essence.

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Views on Philosophy Husserl’s and Sadrā’s views on philosophy are very significant in order to expound their notions of essence, for these notions are deeply rooted in what they understand and how they interpret philosophy. Sadrā defines philosophy as ‘the perfecting of the human self by cognizing through demonstration, within the limits of man’s potentiality, the realities of the things in themselves in terms of judgments rather than mere opinions or imitations’ (AsfārI, p.20). He further equates this definition with the view that philosophy ‘is an attempt of man, within the limits of his potentiality, to establish an intellectual order in relation to the cosmos in order to become like the Divine’ (AsfārI, p.20). These views reflect that Sadrā is not only a Sūfī whose objective is to have the religious experience par excellence characterized by becoming one with God. Rather in order to have that experience he focuses on the intellectual grasping of all aspects of human life from its Origin (al-Mabdā’) to the afterworld (al-Ma‘ād). He designs a grand intellectual scheme for perfecting his soul by accumulating the Divine Wisdom (al-Hikmat al-Ilāhiyyah) that encompasses all domain of knowledge including ‘the knowledge of God, the angels and the Divine Scriptures.’ That is to say, the Divine Wisdom ranges from ‘the knowledge of how God originated the world,’ ‘what the laws of nature are’ and ‘how they determine the functions of cosmos’ to ‘the knowledge of human self,’ ‘how it is related to the world’ as well as ‘to the Heavens (al-Malā’ al-ā‘la)’ (AsfārI, pp.23). Owing to the mind-body dualism of human existence, Sadrā divides philosophy into two types of hikma (wisdom) namely the theoretical wisdom (al-hikamt al-nazariyyah) and the practical wisdom (al-hikmat al-‘amaliyyah)2 corresponding to the ‘abstract thinking’ and ‘the relational action’ of man respectively (AsfārI, p.20). The task of the former is to cognize, with perfection, the reality of the extraneous phenomena as things in themselves. Whereas the objective of the later is to engage with the good actions

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in order to reach to the moral height. Thereby ‘the human soul can be able to control the human body so that it becomes totally determined and dictated by the soul.’ As we have said earlier Sadrā’s thought is eclectic in nature: the same is the case with his definition of philosophy. So far he tends to amalgamate the intellectual grasping of the things in themselves with the Sūfī experience of becoming one with the Divine. Moreover, while he explains the two types of wisdom he refers to the Qur’ān and the Hadīth to further elaborate his view of philosophy. In case of the theoretical wisdom he quotes a Hadīth in which the Prophet Muhammad is reported to ask Allah to make him ‘see the things as they are in themselves.’ Whereas drawing upon the verses 4, 5 and 6 of Sūrat al-Tīn (Chapter 95 of the Qur’ān) Sadrā explains the combination of the theoretical and the practical wisdom. The Qur’ān says:
We have indeed created man in the best of moulds (ahsani taqwīm), then we abased him to the lowest of the low (asfala sāfilīn) except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and so for them shall be a reward everlasting. (Qur’ān 95:4-6)

According to Sadrā, the term ahsani taqwīm (the best of moulds) refers to the distinct and pure nature of the human soul whereas the phrase asfala sāfilīn (the lowest of the low) defines the bodily aspect of the human existence that was derived from the ‘dense’ (kathīf) and the ‘dark’ (muzlim) material. Moreover, the phrase “those who believe” corresponds to those who have the theoretical wisdom. That is to say, when once one totally submits to Allāh one finds oneself able to know the reality of the world through one’s belief in the Divine revelation. This ability necessarily leads one to al-‘amal al-sālih (the good deed) which is the sphere of the practical wisdom. So Īmān (belief) and al-‘amal al-sālih correspond to the theoretical and the practical wisdom respectively. When one perfects oneself in terms of this bipartite wisdom one leads oneself to become like the Divine. This two-dimensional view of philosophy

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(Falsafah) or wisdom (Hikmah) of Sadrā’s is known as al-Hikmat al-Muta‘āliyah (Transcendental Wisdom)3 (AsfārI, pp.21-22). Unlike Sadrā’s eclectic view of Transcendental Wisdom, as discussed above, Edmund Husserl, rejecting every presupposition given by tradition, culture, philosophy and science, emphasizes a radical way of philosophizing which he calls ‘transcendental phenomenology.’ Drawing upon Descartes’ Meditations, he tends ‘to begin with new meditationes de prima philosophia’ subjected ‘to a Cartesian overthrow the immense philosophical literature with its medley of great traditions.’ That is to say, Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology begins with ‘absolute poverty of knowledge’ being devoid of any philosophical presupposition or pre-judgment (CM, pp.1-6). This beginning of philosophical investigations with absolute poverty of knowledge to cognize the phenomena is the first step of Husserl’s phenomenological method which he calls ‘the phenomenological éπoχή (epoche).’ The epoche is not the denial or doubt (as in case of the Cartesian method) concerning the existence of world. Instead, it is a ‘bracketing’ or ‘suspension’ ‘which completely bars’ the beginners of philosophy ‘from using any judgment that concerns spatio-temporal existence’ (Ideas, pp.110111). At this moment of complete ‘disconnexion’ through the phenomenological epoche the only thing that ‘remains unaffected’ is the ‘consciousness in itself.’ That is to say, at the moment of epoche there happens a reduction-a leading back to ‘pure consciousness’ which is the only ‘phenomenological residuum’ after the complete suspension of the world. The simultaneous happening of the phenomenological epoche and reduction makes pure transcendental consciousness available as the only field of the radical philosophizing which Husserl calls ‘the science of phenomenology’ (Ideas, p.113). The philosophical investigations proceed through the experiences of pure transcendental consciousness which is a pure intuition whereby philosophy takes shape of ‘[t]he pure phenomenology of the experiences of thinking and knowing.’

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Whatever appears to pure intuition is the thing in itself or phenomenon which intuition cognizes in terms of its eidos (essence). So phenomenology, according to Husserl, ‘must bring to pure expression, must describe in terms of their essential concepts and their governing formulas of essence, the essences which directly make themselves known in intuition, and the connections which have their roots purely in such essences. Each such statement of essence is an a priori statement in the highest sense of the word’ (LI, Vol.I, p.249). This Husserlian notion seems to be an echo of Sadrā’s concept of the theoretical wisdom which leads him to the things in themselves in terms of the Gnostic experience of transcendence. But the difference between them lies in the states of knowledge attained through the intuitive experience. In case of Sadrā, man becomes like the Divine having the knowledge of the things in themselves. Whereas in Husserl’s case, through intuitive experiences man, in terms of the essences of the things in themselves, constitute the lifeworld (Lebenswelt), ‘the world in which we are always already living and which furnishes the ground for all cognitive performance and all scientific determinations’ (EJ, p.14). Meanings of Transcendence Owing to the simultaneous differences and resemblance in their conceptions of philosophy, one can now understand the difference between the meanings of the term transcendence as comprehended by Husserl and Sadrā. For Husserl, phenomenology, as shown above, is a radical way of philosophizing which sounds the Cartesian radicalism in working out a philosophical method. His notion of ‘transcendental subjectivity’ can be grasped in relation to the Cartesian view of ‘the ego cogito.’ Husserl’s fundamental phenomenological method is that of transcendental epoche which bars ‘Ego”or ‘I-myself’ completely from the world of space and time and all of its scientific ideation. The gateway to the phenomenological investigations is the method of transcendental epoche which leads one to an absolute poverty of knowledge.

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Thereby ‘the whole concrete surrounding life-world’ is transformed into ‘only a phenomenon of being.’ In epoche, the surrounding lifeworld does not remain as something existing rather it is ‘something that claims being’ (CM, pp.18-19). The world is the world of experience and in epoche I experience it as I experienced it before but ‘the only difference is that I, as reflecting philosophically, no longer keep in effect (no longer accept) the natural believing in existence involved in experiencing the world.’ In addition, all of the processes of ‘position takings’ regarding the world, ‘the judgings, valuings, and decidings, the process of setting ends and willing means’ are also suspended, as they involve believing in the existence of the world (CM, pp.19-20). This absolute and universal depriving of all beliefs concerning the ‘existential status (Seinsgeltung)’ of the life-world and all existential position takings regarding it does not lead one to nothingness. On the contrary, the epoche, with this absolute poverty of the surrounding life-world, leads one to the absolute and universal richness of ‘pure Ego’ or I-myself. The richness of I-myself is characterized by ‘my own pure conscious life, in and by which the entire Objective world exists for me and is precisely as it is for me.’ (CM, pp.20-21) Husserl relates his pure transcendental consciousness to Descartes’ ego cogito, as it experiences the objective world, perceives it, remembers it, thinks of it, judges about it, values it, desires it, or the like which Descartes, according to Husserl, indicated ‘by the name cogito’ (CM, p.21). But Husserl’s pure Ego tends to remain above all life-world and ‘refrain[s] from doing any believing that takes “the” world straightforwardly as existing.’ Instead, the pure Ego enters the world ‘that gets its sense and acceptance or status [Sinn und Geltung] in and from’ the Ego itself not independent of it (CM, p.21). The transcendental epoche, as we have already discussed, as it leads Ego back to the rich realm of its experience, is also called ‘the transcendental-phenomenological reduction.’ The method of transcendental reduction, according to Husserl, makes transcendental subjective consciousness ‘epodictic’ in nature. Here

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Husserl again refers to the Cartesian notion of doubt to explain his view of epodicticity. In case of the Cartesian method, the ego sum is found as certainly existing by doubting the existence of the whole world around. Similarly, Husserl parenthesizes the extrinsically existing life-world through epoche and reduction to find transcendental subjective consciousness as epodictically evident. In this ‘transcendence,’ according to Husserl, the epodictically evident ‘reduced Ego is not a piece of the world…neither the world…is a piece of…Ego,’ rather
“This “transcendence” is part of the intrinsic sense of anything worldly, despite the fact that anything worldly necessarily acquires all the determining it, along with its existential status, exclusively from my experiencing it, my objectivating, thinking, valuing, or doing, at particular times-notably the status of an evidently valid being is one it can acquire only from my own evidences, my grounding acts.” ( CM, p.26)

Thanks to his notion of transcendence, Husserl rejects the extrinsic and objective existence of life-world without denying the status of the same as a domain of experience for pure transcendental consciousness. Ultimately, this life-world is constituted by the consciousness through the eidetic method of cognizing as we will see in the next section of this study. Like Husserl Sadrā believes in transcending in order to cognize the realities of the things in themselves as we have already seen in the last section where he defines philosophy. But his concept of transcendence is entirely different from that of Husserl’s. In order to comprehend the realities of the things in themselves, according to Sadrā, there is no need to deny their existence independent of the human mind. Instead, without such denial one can have a Gnostic experience (‘Irfān) of the existence (Wujūd) as such. Sadrā uses the metaphor of ‘journey’ (safar) to elaborate his view of transcendence which is gnostic in nature. His al-Hikmat al-Muta‘āliyyah is not

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simply the work of a philosopher who attempts to understand everything by his reason or abstract thinking. But rather it is a sort of intellectual movement that perfects the human soul by the completion of the Four Journeys (al-Asfār al-arba‘ah). He describes these Four Journeys in his magnum opus, al-Hikmat al-Muta‘āliyyah fi’l-Asfār al-‘Aqliyat al-Arba‘ah (The Transcendental Wisdom in the Four Intellectual Journeys). The Four Journeys are as follows:
“The First Journey: from the creatures (al-makhlūqāt) to the Truth (alHaqq), The Second Journey: continues in the Truth with the Truth, The Third Journey: from the Truth to the creatures with the Truth, and The Fourth Journey: continues with the Truth in the creatures.” (AsfārI, p.13)

Sadrā’s intellectual scheme implies that transcendence is a movement or journey from the creatures, the things in the surrounding world, to the Divine in order to become like the Divine as indicated as the First Journey above. This Journey is not merely a mystic experience in which the human soul is lost in the Divine, rather it is an intellectual movement of a Gnostic (‘Ārif) to become like the Divine reflecting on ‘the nature of existence and its accidents (‘awārid)’ (AsfārI, p.20). This is the character of his thought that demarcates him from the Sūfī order of Islamic tradition of which he himself is a part. He attempts to establish a ‘necessary relationship between the Hikmah and the existence’ (AsfārI, p.22). The Hikmah, for him, is ‘the Divine Knowledge’ (al-‘Ilm alIlāhiyyah) whose ‘main topic is the Absolute Being (al-Maujūd alMutlaq).’ Moreover, ‘as every being is an effect of some other being this sphere of learning focuses on the First Cause (al-Sabab alAwwal) of all beings’ (AsfārI, p.24). Māhiyyah and Eidos The main thrust of Sadrā’s philosophy is the ontological underpinning of his Transcendental Wisdom, the focal point of the

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First Journey in his grand intellectual scheme whose task is to cognize the nature of existence with all other notions related to it. This study focuses on the notion of Māhiyyah (essence) as Sadrā expounds it in relation to the existence. Sadrā believes that ‘all essences (Māhiyyat) are the accidents of the existence4 which become characteristically related to it first of all other accidents of it’ (AsfārI, p.25). He considers existence as an unconceivable or undeterminable term, as it is beyond the known methods of conceiving namely ‘the definition’ (al-hadd) and ‘the description’ (al-rasm). The former is not applicable to existence, for in order to define something one should necessarily know the genus (jins) and the division (fasl) but existence is universally common to all, therefore one cannot ascribe it to any particular genus. Moreover, since it is devoid of genus therefore it is devoid of division. The method of description is also not applicable to existence, for in this case one describes something unknown by the help of some very well-known meaning, but ‘nothing is known better than the existence.’ Therefore, it will be an absolute mistake to interpret the existence by the help of some other entities considered as more meaningful than the existence. So the existence, for Sadrā, is beyond all demonstration and conception of the human mind (AsfārI, pp.2526). That is to say, the existence is absolutely extrinsic and objective being entirely independent of not only the human mind but anything extraneous to it (AsfārI, p.27). It is the only reality that is real in itself whereas all other entities including the essence, as they are, are accidents of the existence. Sadrā demarcates the Necessary Existence (al-Wujūd al-Wājib) that is a Being-in-Itself (Maujūd bi Nafsihī) from the accidental existence (al-wujūd al-‘ārid) that is a being which depends on other to exist (maujūd bi ghairihī) (AsfārI, p.27). This distinction is grounded on his notion of hierarchy of attribution of the meaning of the existence to different beings with respect to their essences. The meaning of existence is common among all beings that attribute it. However, all of the beings are essentially different in the attribution of the meaning of the existence

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due to various respects. For instance, the Being that is uncaused by any other prior being ‘will be naturally the First and the Foremost among all beings’ (Mutaqaddim ‘ala jami‘ al-maujūdāt bi’l-taba‘) or ‘the existence of substance’ (wujūd al-jauhar) is prior to the existence of accident’ (wujūd al-‘ārid) (AsfārI, pp.35-36). The hierarchy or the discrepancy in the attribution of the meaning of existence to all of the beings is to take place through their essences. That is to say, the Divine is essentially different from the mortal, the substance is essentially different from the quality, the form is essentially different from the matter because the attribution of the meaning of existence to these beings is different from each other. Sadrā defines essence (māhiyyah) as ‘what something is as it is’ (al-shaiyu hua hua) or in other words it is ‘an answer to the question about a thing-What is it?’ For instance, to the question‘How much is it?’ The answer will be ‘the mass’ (kammiyyah) of that thing which, according to Sadrā, is the essence (AsfārII, pp.2-3). It implies that essence, unlike existence, is the matter of cognition that can be encompassed by the human perception (mushāhidah) as an accident of the existence. The underlying reality of all beings is the existence that carries essences with it which can be cognized by the conception of the human mind while the existence is beyond all methods of cognition except the Gnostic experience as discussed earlier. Meanings of essences always remain on the epistemic or cognitive plane and so they cannot guarantee the manifestations (tashakhkhus) to beings as they are. Instead, the manifestation of beings as they are in themselves is determined through their existential relationship to the Real Existence (al-Wujūd al-Haqīqī) that is the Origin (al-Mabdā’) of all beings (AsfārII, p.12). The distinction between cognitive and the existential plane of the things in themselves is essential in Sadrā’s philosophy to draw the significant difference between essence and existence. The essence of the thing in itself, although it is one with the existence, belongs to the cognitive side of being of that thing. Whereas the existence is not

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and cannot be a matter of cognition, rather it is absolutely existential or ontic which relates everything to its cause, the Necessary Existence or the Divine. For ‘all beings are shadows (zilāl) and illuminations (ishrāqāt) of the Divine (AsfārII, p.12). So the only way to reach the existential realities of the things in themselves is the Gnostic experience of becoming one with the Divine, the Origin or Source of all existence. Husserl may agree with Sadrā on the view that essence is something what is as it is and also on the view that reality cannot be graspable through traditional empirical and rational methods of cognition. However, he would intensely disagree with Sadrā on drawing a distinction between essence as something cognizable being an accident of the existence that is an absolutely objective and extrinsic reality. On the contrary, Husserl emphasizes on the constitution of all reality by an absolutely pure transcendental subjective consciousness as we have already seen above. This huge difference between the two philosophers transcendence is due to the distinction between their intellectual commitments and methods of philosophizing. Sadrā is an eclectic-revivalist of Muslim traditions both of philosophy and Sūfism. So he has never been able to deviate from his absolute commitment to the Gnostic experience of oneness of being to unveil all reality. While Husserl, being absolutely committed to suspend all traditions of Western intellectualism, is to work out a new method of unfolding the reality which he calls ‘the eidetic method’ or ‘the method of eidetic description’ (CM, p.69). The first step in this method, as shown earlier, is the transcendental reduction which leads one to one’s transcendental ego when one parenthesizes all givenness of actuality. This is not simply a transcendental-phenomenological reduction, rather it is an eidetic reduction in which ego, though situated in ‘the empirical factualness,’ entirely breaks with the same. This ego, in the next step, selects a fact of perception to change it ‘into a pure possibility’ by ‘[a]bstaining from acceptance of its being.’ This ‘shift’ of ‘the

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actual perception into the realm of non-actualities’ takes place on the plane of mere ‘fantasy’ or imagination. The procedure of ‘fantasiableness’ or ‘imaginableness’ of perception removes it ‘from all factualness’ to make it become ‘the pure “eidos” perception,’ an ‘essential universality.’ The pure eidos is absolutely ‘unconditioned by any fact’ and so an ‘a priori’ in the very true sense of the term. Along with the shift of a fact into an a priori universal the ego is also transformed from an empirically situated subject into ‘an intuitive and epodictic consciousness of something universal’ (CM, pp.7071). Through this imaginative procedure of selecting facts to transform them into the pure eidos perceptions, the transcendental subjective consciousness constitutes whole of the life-world in terms of eide. One should not equate Husserl’s method of fantasying fact into the pure eidos to Sadrā’s way of the Gnostic experience to become like the Divine though it can also be interpreted as a highly imaginative and intuitive experience. Husserl’s eidetic ego does break with actuality like Sadrā’s transcendent gnostic but in order not to become one with the Divine. Instead, his transcendental ego becomes free of all factualness to constitute the same life-world (Lebenswelt). Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology develops through the eidetic method whose all investigations are nothing ‘but uncoverings of the all embracing eidos, transcendental ego as such, which comprises all pure possibility-variants of…..de facto ego and this ego itself qua possibility’ (CM, p.71). Conclusion Although Sadrā and Husserl both are the philosophers of transcendence having certain commonalties between them, they differ from each other as well with various respects. Both are deeply interested in cognizing the realities of the things in themselves but begin to attain this task very differently. The later is to reject the whole tradition of his academic culture to find out a radical way of

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philosophizing. Whereas the former is to show an extremely accommodative attitude towards the past philosophies in order to reconcile the various intellectual currents of Muslim tradition in terms of his al-Hikmat al-Muta‘āliyyah. Both focus on transcendence to grasp the reality but their meanings of transcendence are entirely different from each other. For Husserl, Ego’s break with factualness leads to the pure transcendental consciousness which is free of all beliefs and position takings regarding the spatio-temporal existence. So transcendence, being absolutely devoid of any touch of religiosity, is merely an epistemic or cognitive attempt of the Ego to see the phenomena differently. That is to say, rather than cognizing the world with the pre-given beliefs and ideas Transcendental Ego grasps the same in terms of eidos perception which it intrinsically constitutes through its own process of imaginableness or fantasiableness. For Sadrā, on the other hand, it is not enough to break with actuality to experience the transcendence in the exact sense of the term. Instead, one should attempt to have the Gnostic experience of becoming one with the Divine in order to find oneself transcendent. So transcendence is not merely a cognitive attempt rather it is a cognitive-existential experience of the human soul through which the soul not only becomes like the Divine, but simultaneously grasps the reality as well. This is so as Sadrā demarcates between existence and essence very significantly. Essence, for him, is something cognizable through the traditional methods of conceiving the objects like defining and describing etc. while existence is universally common underlying reality that cannot be determined or conceived through those methods. Therefore, the only way to know the existence is to transcend this world to become one with the Absolute Existent, the Origin of all existence. On the contrary, Husserl, though he is also interested in grasping the reality of the things in themselves, is to believe that reality is not beyond the human mind. Rather it can be graspable by the human mind if the mind is reduced to the eidetic Ego that can transform all fact into the pure eidos through the

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extraordinary procedure of fantasying or imagining. This eidetic method ultimately leads not to the Divine but to the constitution of the same life-world in which the Ego is always already living and experiencing. Abbreviations
Asfār Sadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī, al-Hikmat al-Muta‘āliyyah fi’l-Asfār al-‘Aqliyat alArba‘ah (The Transcendental Wisdom in the Four Intellectual Journeys), 9 Volumes, Bairūt, Dār al-’Ihy ā’ al-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1419/1999 (The volume one of this book is abbreviated as AsfārI and volume two as AsfārII) MM Sadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī, al-Mabdā’ wal-Ma‘ād (the Origin and the Afterworld), Bairūt, Dār al-Hādī, 1420/2000 CM Husserl, Edmund, Cartesianische Meditationen (Cartesian Meditations), Trans. D. Cairns, The Hague, Nijhoff, 1967 EJ Husserl, Edmund, Erfahrung und Urteil: Untersuchungen zur Genealogie der Logik (Experience and Judgment: Investigations in a Genealogy of Logic), Rev. and Ed. L. Landgrebe, Trans. J. S. Churchill and K. Ameriks, Evanston, IL, Northwestern University Press, 1973 Ideas Husserl, Edmund, Ideen: zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und Phänomenologischen Philosophie (Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology), Trans. W. R. Boyce Gibson, London, Allen & Unwin, 1931 LI Husserl, Edmund, Logische Untersuchungen (Logical Investigations), 2 Volumes, Trans. J. N. Findlay, New York, Humanities Press, 1970

Notes
1. My translation of Sadrā’s al-Hikmat al-Muta‘āliyyah is a result of benefiting both from Fazlur Rahman and Hussein Nasr. The former translated the term as ‘the Sublime Wisdom’ while the later rendered it as ‘the Transcendent Theosophy’ benefiting, may be, from Henry Corbin. See Fazlur Rahman, The Philosophy of Mullā Sadrā, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1975, p.19 and S. Hussein Nasr, Sadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī and his Transcendent Theosophy, Tehrān, Institute of Humanities and Cultural Studies, 1997

190 Abdul Rahim Afaki

2. This division of al-Hikmah into al-Nazariyyah and al-‘Amaliyyah seems to be very similar to that of Ibn-Sīnā’s. See Ibn-Sīnā, al-Ilāhiyyāt min Kitāb alShifā’ , researched by Āyāt Allāh Hasanzādeh al ’Āmulī, Qum, Maktab al-A‘lām al-Islamī, 1386/1966, pp.11-12 3. After having gone through Sadrā’s definitions of philosophy which I have already discussed above as well as benefiting from Mīrzā Mahdī Āshtiyānī, Hussein Nasr comes to the conclusion that Sadrā’s this concept of wisdom is the same as well known as al-Hikmat al-Muta‘āliyah. He says: “There are…three basic principles upon which the Transcendent Theosophy stands: intellectual intuition or illumination (kashf or dhauq or ishrāq); reason and rational demonstration (aql or istidlāl); and religion or revelation (shar‘ or Wahī). It is by combining the knowledge derived from these sources that the synthesis of Mullā Sadrā was brought about. This synthesis aimed to harmonize the knowledge that is accessible to man through the following means, namely, Sūfism, the school of ishrāq, rational philosophy (identified by Mullā Sadrā with the Peripatetic school) and religious sciences including theology (kalām).” See S. H. Nasr, Sadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī and his Transcendent Theosophy, Tehrān, Institute of Humanities and Cultural Studies, 1997, pp.87-88 4. The priority of existence to essence is the view that demarcates Sadrā from his predecessors including Ibn-Sīnā and al-Suhrawardī. He confessed that he himself was of that opinion that essence is prior to existence but later he became enlightened by the view that the objective realities are the existences not the essences which can be cognized by the subjective mind through the ordinary methods of the human conception. All possible existences are the shadows and illuminations of One Real Light, the Necessary existence that cannot be conceived through rational method but only by the Gnostic experience. For the Necessary Existence is devoid of any essence, instead, its very existence is its essence. See AsfārI, pp.48-49 and MM, pp.30-40 Bibliography 1. Sadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī, al-Hikmat al-Muta‘āliyah fi’l-Asfār al-‘Aqliyat alArba‘ah (The Transcendental Wisdom in the Four Intellectual Journeys), Volumes 1-9, Bairūt, Dār al-’Ihy ā’ al-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1419/1999 2. ………………….., al-Mabdā’ wal-Ma‘ād (the Origin and the Afterworld), Bairūt, Dar al-Hadi, 1420/2000 5. Ibn-Sīnā, al-Ilāhiyyāt min Kitāb al-Shifā’, researched by Āyāt Allāh Hasanzādeh al ’Āmulī, Qum, Maktab al-A‘lām al-Islamī, 1386/1966 3. Fazlur Rahman, The Philosophy of Mullā Sadrā, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1975 6. Nasr, S. Hussein, Sadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī and his Transcendent Theosophy, Tehrān, Institute of Humanities and Cultural Studies, 1997

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7. Husserl, Edmund, Cartesianische Meditationen (Cartesian Meditations), Trans. D. Cairns, The Hague, Nijhoff, 1967 8. …………………, Erfahrung und Urteil: Untersuchungen zur Genealogie der Logik (Experience and Judgment: Investigations in a Genealogy of Logic), Rev. and Ed. L. Landgrebe, Trans. J. S. Churchill and K. Ameriks, Evanston, IL, Northwestern University Press, 1973 9. …………………, Ideen: zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und Phänomenologischen Philosophie (Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology), Trans. W. R. Boyce Gibson, London, Allen & Unwin, 1931 10. …………………, Logische Untersuchungen (Logical Investigations), 2 Volumes, Trans. J. N. Findlay, New York, Humanities Press, 1970